Steps in the Social Security Disability Benefits Appeal Process in Ohio

9 March 2018

First-time applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) should mentally prepare themselves for rejection. Denials of benefits seem almost automatic in many cases.

The somewhat good news is that the system permits multiple appeals. Families in central Ohio who are already struggling with a disability and financial difficulties will find it easier to resist the urge to panic and the understandable temptation to quit in the face of numerous bureaucratic hurdles if they enlist the advice and representation of an experienced Columbus Social Security disability lawyer.

Each appeal of a denial of SSDI or SSI benefits follows a well-defined script, as sketched out below.


Step 1. A letter arrives.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies applicants of its decision by mail. A rejection letter will contain details about the grounds for the ruling and, if appropriate, information about how to file an appeal.


Step 2. You meet with your Columbus, Ohio, Social Security disability lawyer.

Parts of the letter from the government may read like they were written in a foreign language. Taking the notice to an attorney who handles SSDI and SSI appeals will provide a translation and yield solid advice on how to respond.


Step 3. You file your intent to appeal.

Each appeal can have three parts. The first is filing a notice of intent to appeal with the SSA. That must arrive within weeks of the date on the rejection letter. An attorney can send the notice immediately.


Step 4. You work with your disability lawyer in Columbus to collect, organize, and deliver additional information.

For the second part of the appeal, the SSA requires a detailed response to each issue raised in the rejection letter. Often, the case reviewer wants additional medical evidence that the applicant can no longer do the work he or she did before an injury or illness. The applicant may also need to send in more information on income and financial resources, employment history, and skills for jobs other than the one most recently held. Partnering with an attorney who maintains a network of health care providers, occupational therapists, and financial experts will let the disabled applicant gather all the requested documents efficiently and thoroughly.


Step 5. Another letter arrives, and you possibly repeat steps 1-4.

The SSA usually handles a first appeal the same as the original application review. Sometimes, it triggers the third part of the appeal, which a hearing. If a hearing is held, the applicant’s Columbus Social Security disability lawyer can represent him or her. A new rejection restarts the appeal cycle, and a second appeal will definitely conclude with an in-person hearing that the applicant can choose to attend.


Step 6. You file a lawsuit if previous appeals have failed.

When the SSA refuses to award SSDI or SSI benefits after a final appeal, the applicant can sue the government. This will be an administrative hearing, meaning that it will consist mostly of the applicant’s lawyer making the argument that the people who reviewed the original application or follow-up information misapplied rules, ignored crucial evidence, or simply made mistakes. Some witness testimony will be allowed, but the proceeding will not operate like a trial seen on TV.

The Columbus, Ohio, disability lawyers with the Calig Law Firm are available to help with Social Security disability applications and appeals. Let us know if we can assist you by calling (614) 252-2300 or requesting an appointment online.


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